882.01 Foreign Control/938: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Liberia ( Hibbard )

1. We have just received a note from the British Ambassador, dated January 17, (text of which is being mailed to you), agreeing with us that President Barclay “is entitled to proceed with his own reform plan and to engage the services of foreign advisers of his own choosing for the purpose of giving effect to it”. The British Government will accordingly join with us in encouraging Barclay to carry out his proposals. The note continues that the British Government’s “main preoccupation in Liberia relates to the position of the Kru tribes” and suggests that the two Governments “exert all possible efforts to secure a lasting and satisfactory settlement between President Barclay and the Kru leaders” and to this end suggests that you and Yapp “bring the protagonists together and arrange for negotiations between them. This is not to imply that either the Government of the United States or His Majesty’s Government could accept any responsibility for the fulfillment of any agreement that might be reached”. The sending of identic notes to the Krus is not mentioned.

We have considered your No. 2 January 16, 4 p.m. in the light of the foregoing. Unlike the British our main preoccupation in Liberia does not relate to the position of the Kru tribes alone but to the welfare and rehabilitation of the country as a whole along the broad lines [Page 925] of Barclay’s plan, embracing not only hinterland administration (of which the Kru difficulty is a part) but also education, sanitation, economic development, finances, transportation, et cetera. We recognize that the Kru situation is one factor to be considered in this rehabilitation and hope that it may satisfactorily be disposed of. To that end, we authorize you, provided the British obtain clemency for Nimley from the Liberian authorities, to cooperate with your British colleague in recommending to him that he submit. In this cooperation, however, you should bear in mind that we are less interested in the controversial phases of the dispute than in the fact that it is being settled, and we do not wish you to be maneuvered into a leading position, or to become involved in the terms of the settlement. In any approach you may make to the Liberian Government regarding the Kru dispute, you should be governed by our attitude of complete willingness to help the Liberians solve any of the difficulties encountered in putting Barclay’s plan into effect.